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Full text of "NightRider"

144

More and more the very sight of Benton Todd grew to
irritate Mr. Munn. He was a nice boy, Mr. Munn was sure
of that, and smart enough, but Mr. Munn blamed his youth,
his innocence, and his apparent conviction that you could just
go out and set everything right because you were right. His
constant questions, and his very air of respect when he asked
them, worked upon Mr. Munn's feelings like a reproach, like
an unjust accusation from a trusted friend. But when he saw
the boy following Lucille Christian about the house, trying
to talk to her as she whisked busily and, Mr. Munn was sure,
unnecessarily from room to room, or saw him standing alone,
trustingly and somewhat ridiculously, in the middle of the
floor where she had left him, with a basket or a pan dangling
in his large grasp, he was tempted to stamp out of the house
or to protest, to demand why in the world she treated the boy
that way, why didn't she send him about his business if she
didn't love him.

"What do you let him hang round for?" Mr. Munn de-
manded of her one night, when she lay beside him in the
dark. They had been silent for a long time, staring up at the
ceiling.

" Shhl" she said, and laid a finger on his lips. " Don't yell
Youll wake up papa, and then wherell you be?"

"What do you let him hang round for?" Mr. Munn
whispered.

" Who?" she asked, still keeping her finger lying lightly on
his lips and with it tracing their contours.

"You know who," he said-" Benton Todd."

" I told him to go away," she whispered.

"WeH, he hasn't gone.*'

"You're jealous," she murmured, and patted his lips with
her finger.

'* God, no, Fm not jealous," he said.

"Yes, jealous. You're jealous, and he's just a kid. And
your greatest admirer, too. Why, mention your name and
he's ready to get on his knees; he thinks you hung the moon/"

" I'm not jealous," Mr. Munn said deliberately, " but it's